Open Phones: Online Buying

Monday, December 10, 2012

laptop computers (Klein Photography/flickr)

What are you buying online that you thought you'd never buy online? Call us at 212-433-9692 or let us know in the comments section below.  

Comments [14]


How lovely it would be to give a jewelry gift straight from the hands of a young silvermith, TORCH SONG METALS. AT 167 Main st. NYACK, is in a 100 yr old Victorian house/shop that does custom work for you as well as limited edition pieces in the shop.

Dec. 18 2012 11:56 AM
ALIVE in Downtown from NYC

Would love to see a segment on "What did actually buy at a brick and Mortar store foregoing the online lure?"
BTW: I shop for clothing online, b/c apparently I look so "objectionable" that store workers don't even approach me when I walk through the door. I much rather shop (Clothing) online for psychological reasons.
Having said that...last week i bought something pricey at a big store in Downtown Manhattan.
Could I have gotten it a bit cheaper online - maybe (not certain about that one)...But I Shamelessly shop at brick and mortar stores for stuff I could buy online. If I see a relatively small price difference I opt for the actual store that pays to keep inventory, staff, lights, heat, rent and helps keep neighborhoods ALIVE!
Keep it ALIVE New York City.

Dec. 10 2012 01:31 PM

I bought a two-piece suit online this past summer, which is perhaps unremarkable except for the fact that I didn't know my jacket size beforehand. A good friend of mine had asked me to be a groomsman at his wedding, and since he thought he looked ridiculous in a tux, he decided to get married while wearing a suit instead, and of course the groomsmen had to wear suits to match. He recognized maybe this was a bit much to ask, because it meant each of us had to BUY a new suit, not rent it. So he referred us to a well-known menswear company that was offering a pretty generous online discount. Suitably (pun recognized, but not intended), there was a guide on the menswear company's site explaining how to figure out your jacket size. And that's how I ordered a two-piece suit that HAD to look good (high stakes when you're in the wedding party!), all without leaving my apartment.

Now that I think of it, I remember I still have this suit in my closet, and since I don't care for two-button jackets, I'd intended on selling it on eBay or something. Well, here we go, just in time for the holidays. Circle of life and all. Thanks, internet.

I've also purchased prescription glasses online. You can measure your pupillary distance in a mirror with a ruler, or with the help of a friend who holds the ruler and measures while you stare straight ahead. This was extremely helpful during the several years in which I didn't have health insurance, because it can be a challenge to buy prescription glasses through "traditional" channels using a prescription that's over a year old.

Dec. 10 2012 12:21 PM
Reuven from Washington Heights

The Jewish take on "showrooming".
Ona’at Devarim (Verbal Deception)
This category ... is based on a.. verse in ... Leviticus (25:17): “Do not deceive one another, but fear your God, for I the Lord am your God.” Since the other verse had explicitly mentioned monetary deception, the rabbis concluded that this verse refers to verbal deception. And thus we learn in the Mishnah (Bava Metzia 4:10): “Just as there is deception in buying and selling, there is deception in words. A person should not say to a merchant: ‘How much does this cost?’ if he has no intention of buying it”.

But why not? What’s wrong with comparison shopping? Nothing! But in this case he is not asking in order to compare prices. He is asking out of idle curiosity, which gives the merchant false hopes. Therefore the Mishnah says “he has no intention of buying it” and a parallel [source] (Bava Metzia 58b) states that he doesn’t even have any money.

As for our own day, once again the law ofona’at devarim is very applicable. Let us say that Reuven goes into a warehouse outlet in order to buy a computer, but he wants a demonstration before he spends $1000. The warehouse outlet is not equipped for demonstrations. The salesman says to Reuven: “go to the IBM showroom down the block and ask for a demonstration, then come back here and buy the computer at our low low price”. Reuven complies and gets a free demonstration plus a discount.

In this case, Reuven has committed ona’at devarim—verbal deception. When Reuven asks for the demonstration at the IBM store, he has absolutely no intention of purchasing the computer there. He merely wants a free demonstration. The IBM salesman is being deceived. He either loses a real customer while waiting on Reuven, or feels badly when Reuven walks out on him after a half-hour demonstration. This is ona’at devarim.

Dec. 10 2012 12:19 PM
RUCB_alum from Central New Jersey

Fungibles and non-custom fit items (jewelry, watches) seem to be the 'low hanging fruit' here.

I bought a pair of Thad Stewart shoes once I found an online seller that wanted less than half what they would have cost me at The Walking Store.

My question to all the listeners is should the state be taking greater steps to collect the sales tax on these online items? Here in NJ, clothing and food are exempt but nearly everything else has a 7% sales tax. The individual is supposed to pay up on their state taxes but how many of us actually do? I'd bet our compliance is lower than the Greeks on this one. Yet we expect the same or better service from our state governments. How can they when we starve them of the taxes it takes to run efficiently? In my perfect world, the individual states would cede their state tax collection authority to the Feds must come up with a single standard for taxing based on the state of residence. The Feds would keep .01 to .001 per cent of the taxes collected in order to operate the system and would turn the rest over to the state that levied it. Packages shipped from DE, AK, NH, MN, HI and OR (states with no sales tax) would need to be tracked pretty carefully, huh?

Dec. 10 2012 12:09 PM
Sabrina from 10003

Shame on you for 'show shopping' or whatever you called it. You should be denouncing this practice, not giving it sanction. It not only is exploitive of the brick and mortar shop but it will result in the further erosion of neighborhoods, e.g., more banks and nail shops. I try always to first shop locally.

Dec. 10 2012 12:04 PM
Peter Falconi from Brooklyn

The caller who said he goes to his local store to try on running shoes but buys the shoes online should be ashamed to brag about this practice! This is stealing. He is wasting the time of the sales rep as he has no intention of buying. What about the poor rep who works on commission.

Dec. 10 2012 12:02 PM
Mary Bobb from Northern Virginia

I buy cases of cat food and litter via Amazon and have it shipped directly to a no-kill cat shelter in Ohio. I don't have to re-pack and mail anything (Amazon does it for me) and the shelter receives an extra financial donation as a result of my buying it there.

Dec. 10 2012 11:59 AM

I'm a "plus-size" woman. Because they can offer them on line, many brick-and-mortar stores have stopped carrying larger size clothes. I feel forced to buy things on-line and wish I didn't have to.

Dec. 10 2012 11:58 AM
JMD from Westchester

I am still having a difficult time with purchasing my underwear at the same big box wholesaler I purchase my chicken!

Dec. 10 2012 11:53 AM
Douglas Turner

Ordered custom jewelry online, two matching silver rings, with dorje symbols.

Dec. 10 2012 11:53 AM
Melanie from Brooklyn

I buy almost everything online. Just this morning, I bought make-up--eyeliner and lipstick--sight unseen without knowing if the colors would work on me. I based my purchases on what other purchasers said worked for them...just tried to match my skin tone/eye color to other similar people who had rated them high.

Dec. 10 2012 11:52 AM

I've become one of those obnoxious people who orders just about everything off of Amazon since I got a prime account. Groceries, toiletries, you name it. My coworkers make fun of me for getting boxes so often, but it's so much cheaper and easier than going to stores!

Dec. 10 2012 11:52 AM

I've been happy with shoes purchased on eBay. I stick to two favorite brands, and to my size within the brands. I also make sure the condition is either new or lightly worn. This results in a great savings versus shoe stores.

Dec. 10 2012 11:05 AM

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